The Franchise: A Tiger’s tale on finding joy in adversity

Brad and I got in the car.  I offer Brad a blanket.  My car doesn’t have heat.  The temperature was in the 20s.  I started the car.  And started driving.  Brad thanked me for giving him a ride.  It was a bit cold to ride his bicycle that day.  I don’t know a more joyful man than Brad.  He lives an inspirational life.  Brad’s the kind of man who lives life with boundless enthusiasm.

I dance like a stiff awkward white guy.  It’s uncomfortable to watch.   I’ve seen Brad dance.  He’s “all in.”   He follows the spirit.  His body is free.  He is fully in the moment.  He also dances like an awkward white guy.  Because he’s comfortable and committed, it’s a joy to see him dance.  My discomfort is what makes it so uncomfortable to watch me.  Brad accepts and embraces who he is.

We started talking as we drove.  Brad shared the joy that is in his heart.  It radiates from him.  Even in the chill of the front-seat of my car.   He shared his enthusiasm to connect with others.  He talked about how blessed he is.  We got to where Brad works.  We sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes.  We continued talking, sitting in my frigid car.  He shared his passion for others.  He shared the power of his faith.  The strength of God in His life.  We talked about what it means to connect others, to love others.  How that’s where we find the church;  in building relationships with love.  The one’s where we share pains and trials, joy and hope.  It’s not the buildings we go to – that’s a church.    We talked about how Brad just enjoys spending time with people sharing his joy.

That morning, I was wrestling with the question, “What is it to really know and have a relationship with God?”   Then Brad asked for a ride.  He answered my question.  We had church in my car.   Just me and Brad.  And God.

Thirty years ago, Brad was a near Olympic athlete and Ivy League scholar.  He was studying to become a doctor in neuroscience.  Then there was the accident that ended his life as he knew it …   Here’s Brad’s story.


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